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Waikiki Area

Resorts by Name

Ala Moana Hotel

(800) 367-6025 or (808) 955-4811
410 Atkinson Dr, Waikiki
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There are two towers within this hotel—the Kona and the Waikiki towers. The property is just outside Waikiki, next door to the Ala Moana Shopping Center. Business travelers and convention attendees make up much of their customer base. (The convention center is very close by.) The room colors and furnishings are relaxing and modern, though not overly Hawaiian in feel. Rooms are very small and less expensive in the Kona Tower and have no lanais. The pool area is pretty functional and just a place to get wet.

It’s a fairly long walk into Waikiki and its beaches and restaurants, but it’s also quicker when you’re looking to hop on the freeway. Lines can get ridiculously long at the front desk. In all, you need to decide if the location trade-offs are worth it. Local and toll-free calls are $0.75. Rooms (246–335 sq. ft.) are $379–$469, suites (560 sq. ft.) are $569–$849.

2020-07-09T15:47:19-10:00 Rating: No Award

Alohilani Resort Waikiki Beach

(800) 923-6060 or (808) 922-1233
2490 Kalakaua Ave, Waikiki
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Isn’t it great when a longtime hotel finally gets a ton of money thrown at it for a new look? That’s exactly what $115 million did for these two towers (formerly the Pacific Beach Hotel).

The hotel sits directly across the street from Kuhio Beach Park. The views from their oceanfront rooms are stunning. The new rooms have a pale sand-colored modern theme, which sets off the ocean color really well. They have Keurig coffee makers with free pods daily and mini fridges in every room. The new baths have either showers only or tub/shower combos, all with rainshower heads. Some bathrooms have Washlet toilets. We didn’t care for the hallway carpets and thought they looked like unfinished cement instead of the “sand washed by water” theme they were going for. Oh, well.

2020-07-09T14:48:14-10:00 Rating: No Award

Ambassador Hotel of Waikiki

(800) 923-2620 or (808) 941-7777
2040 Kuhio Ave, Waikiki
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This hotel is on a pretty busy corner. Not much in the views department—this is a utilitarian place to stay. You sleep here; you don’t hang around. And without a pretty good discount, it’s hard to justify staying here since you’ve got a 15-minute walk to the beach. Get a cheaper price or go elsewhere. This place is popular with groups (who presumably get good rates) and is always busy. The lanais have high cement railings, so there’s no way to sit and enjoy whatever view you may have. All rooms have showers only, no tubs. Rooms (400 sq. ft.) are $99–$179, suites (750–850 sq. ft.) are $149–$219.

2020-07-09T15:34:18-10:00 Rating: No Award

Aqua Aloha Surf Waikiki

(866) 940-2782 or (808) 923-0222
444 Kanekapolei St, Waikiki
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This 16-floor building has clean, simple, modern rooms that were scheduled for upgrades at press time. The pool’s pretty small. Only corner rooms have bathtubs—the rest have showers. It’s two long blocks to the beach. Self-parking is $25. There is a mandatory $18 “hospitality” fee, that pays for Internet, daily coffee in room, local and toll-free calls, daily continental breakfast, room safe, DVD rental and some other items. Room sizes vary considerably from 220 to 360 sq. ft. for $190–$220. Suites (385–625 sq. ft.) are $275–$325.

2020-07-09T14:42:14-10:00 Rating: No Award

Aqua Bamboo Waikiki

(866) 940-2782 or (808) 922-7777
2425 Kuhio Ave, Waikiki
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This boutique hotel has a very tranquil atmosphere, despite its location in the middle of Waikiki. A nice pool, fresh bamboo and Buddhas sprinkled about add to its appeal, which has sort of a contemporary Asian feel. Their saltwater pool is nice with the sound of a waterfall to drown out the city noise. Because of the hotel’s relatively small size, nothing feels too distant. Service is personalized and warm.

Some rooms are pretty small but well laid out, so size is less of an issue. (The building gets narrower as it goes up.) The rooms are bright and modern with hints of bamboo and dark woods. There’s a docking station for your iPod, a place to secure your surfboard (limited), and free fresh ground-to-order coffee and tea in the lobby 24 hours a day.

2020-07-09T14:35:21-10:00 Rating: A Real Gem

Aqua Oasis

(866) 940-2782 or (808) 923-2300
320 Lewers St, Waikiki
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This two-tower hotel has a surprisingly airy atmosphere. The lobby is a pleasant place to relax with hanging chairs and comfy sofas. The rooms have a contemporary, fresh feel and make good use of the space.

One tip—in the standard category, if you opt for a king bed, rooms are 50 sq. ft. smaller (for the same price) than rooms with two double beds. Those in standard rooms may also request a microwave. All rooms have oval bathtubs, and suites have Washlet toilets.

A quaint resort that’s not overly large, this is in one of the relatively quieter regions of Waikiki. However, they do have a karaoke studio open from noon until 4 a.m. to break some of that silence. You must be over 21 to use it after 10 p.m., and the private rooms felt long overdue for renovations. Their on-site restaurant offers discounts to hotel guests.

2020-07-09T15:13:56-10:00 Rating: No Award

Aqua Ohia Waikiki

(866) 940-2782 or (808) 926-6442
2280 Kuhio Ave, Waikiki
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This building started life as a hotel, then became a college dorm, then apartments and reopened as a hotel once again in mid-2015. Like many buildings in Waikiki with multiple lives, this one has some benefits and some detriments. One benefit is that all rooms above the basic hotel category have full kitchens. One detriment is that, in some ways, it still feels like a college dorm to us. The renovations are not on par as other properties in the area and don’t feel as modern to us. It feels more utilitarian. All rooms have a very small shower stall (except studios, which have a tub/shower combo). Only two rooms do not have lanais (we’re not sure why).

There is a nice little pool off the lobby. They have a manager’s pupu reception every Tuesday. Overall, not a place to get too excited about, but a good central location in Waikiki if you get a good discount. Hotel rooms (229 sq.

2020-07-09T13:52:50-10:00 Rating: No Award

Aqua Palms Waikiki

(866) 940-2782 or (808) 947-7256
1850 Ala Moana Blvd, Waikiki
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All rooms are studios with kitchenettes and clean, simple, island-style modern decor. Since this building is on a relatively busy street, try to get a unit that faces the back of the building, which has less traffic noise. Their pool and deck, though small, are very sunny. Warm staff here . The 1/1 suites are nice, have a full kitchen and feel bigger than the listed size. Studios (240–363 sq. ft.) are $220–$300. Suites (485–538 sq. ft.) are $400–$500. A few minutes’ walk to the beach at the Hilton Hawaiian Village.

2020-07-09T15:36:54-10:00 Rating: No Award

Coconut Waikiki Hotel

(808) 923-8828
450 Lewers St, Waikiki
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The new lobby and motto is warm, comfy and fun. It sports long tables for guests to enjoy their free full breakfast with other guests. That morning meal is quite popular with hot items, muffins, pastries and fresh fruit, as well as traditional items like corn flakes and Fruit Loops (why is it always Fruit Loops?). There is a cozy living room area with games like Sorry, Kerplunk and Candyland that bring back memories before cell phones and Playstations. You won’t get much of a tan by the tiny pool that’s shaded most of the time by neighboring buildings, but the patio is large and breezy with a BBQ and many tables.

The rooms are small, but they make good use of the space. Only the city view rooms do not have a fridge (a necessity, in our opinion) or microwave. Note also that most rooms have showers only, so if you want a tub, you’ll have to opt for a suite.

It’s a long walk to the beach from here.

2020-07-09T15:23:54-10:00 Rating: No Award

Courtyard by Marriott Waikiki Beach

(877) 995-2638 or (808) 954-4000
400 Royal Hawaiian Ave, Waikiki
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Despite the name, it’s a long walk to the beach from this hotel. The common areas are chic and modern, room decor is in line with the current modern Waikiki style.

This hotel started out life as an Ohana hotel, and they kept Ohana’s trademark tiny showers in most rooms, so if you need a tub, you will want to book a suite. The lobby is the heartbeat of the hotel with a light food convenience market, business center, coffee shop, lounge and restaurant. They have a free mini golf course onsite for guest use, grab the putters from the lobby by the front desk. We think their main pool is one of the prettier ones in the city at a resort of this size with a waterfall to drown out the street noise. They have live music by this pool on most Fridays.

2020-07-10T12:12:12-10:00 Rating: No Award

DoubleTree Alana Hotel

(800) 222-8733 or (808) 941-7275
1956 Ala Moana Blvd, Waikiki
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This hotel is popular with business travelers and those who want convenient access to the Hawai‘i Convention Center a few minutes’ walk away. The rooms have been updated with modern decor in rich chocolates and aqua tones. The bathrooms have shower stalls only, with hand-held shower heads—no tubs (except in suites). The rooms are nicely appointed and reasonably sized with Hilton’s Sweet Dreams beds, but the views are unimpressive.

You have access to the Mandara Spa at the Hilton Hawaiian Village. They have a decent-sized fitness room facing the large pool deck. It’s not a dreamy vacation paradise; it’s a convenient place for business travelers that’s uncomplicated and big enough to have all the features business travelers need without being so big that it takes hours to find them.

2020-07-09T15:34:40-10:00 Rating: No Award

Embassy Suites Waikiki Beach Walk

(800) 362-2779 or (808) 921-2345
201 Beach Walk, Waikiki
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This resort sits on top of the Waikiki Beach Walk shopping center. The Hula Tower is closest to the water, and the Aloha Tower has most of its ocean views blocked by the Trump Tower building.

The resort doesn’t feel like a contemporary Hawaiian resort. The lobby area has an awkward and uninviting arrangement; half of it consists of a driveway with some benches to sit on while you wait for your car. The other half is a small sitting area with check-in desks.

The suites themselves are not overly large at 416–550 sq. ft. for a one bedroom, and they have no closets—just one armoire for your clothes. The best views are from the Hula Tower’s end-facing rooms above the 19th floor, which can peer over the Halekulani Resort. The Embassy based their view designations on whether you can see the ocean from the sofa.

2020-07-09T15:06:27-10:00 Rating: No Award

Ewa Hotel Waikiki

(866) 940-2782 or (808) 922-1677
2555 Cartwright Rd, Waikiki
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A small hotel (with a roof sun deck) that is in transition with newer management. In the past it’s been in pretty poor shape, but this visit left us hopeful, though there’s much more to be done here.

There are currently two types of remodeled rooms. One is a hotel-type room with queen bed and couch. The decor is best described as 1960s Bohemian, but with modern amenities and baths. We really liked it and hadn’t seen anything similar in Waikiki. The other remodeled room is best described as an upscale hostel with four bunk beds built onto the wall. The whole room is almost set up like a dorm with four tall lockers, two separate desks and a couch. The four occupants each have their own cubby-style bunks with privacy curtains, USB hubs, reading lights and shelves. They share a nicely renovated bath and mini fridge. A microwave may or may not be included when it all shakes out.

2020-07-09T14:26:52-10:00 Rating: No Award

Halekulani

(800) 367-2343 or (808) 923-2311
2199 Kalia Rd, Waikiki
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Note: The Halekulani will be closed for renovations until mid 2021 – sometime in July. 

Wow, where do we start? This is an awesome and relaxing resort. It started as a private home back the in late 1800s and has been a hotel since 1907 when rooms went for about $6, but it opened in its current form in 1984.

Services are unmatched here. For instance, the check-in: Forget the desk—the greeter will take you on a tour, then to your room and give you a box of chocolates and an excellent fruit platter. They track your preferences and try to anticipate your future needs. If you order coffee first thing in the morning, next time you stay, they’ll already have it covered. This is the way a resort should be run. You want it; you’ll get it. Don’t like your pillow? They’ll get you a different kind. They are there for every guest’s needs.

2020-07-14T08:17:36-10:00 Rating: A Real Gem

Halepuna Waikiki

(800) 422-0450 or (808) 921-7272
2233 Helumoa Rd, Waikiki
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Note: The former Waikiki Parc was closed for renovations until late 2019. It reopened as the Halepuna Waikiki. We will back to have a look after the dust settles from 2020.

This hotel tends to have a modern design theme, but rooms seem to try to blend old and new furnishings with mixed results. There are no grounds, but the place is clean and comfortable, and rooms are well-appointed.

Lanais not directly facing the ocean are standing-room only, but the eighth-floor rooms have giant lanais. Their “Parc rooms” don’t face a park—they face the parking garage. Bump up to a “mountain view,” if you care at all. And deluxe ocean view means they’re up high enough to peek over the Halekulani. The fitness room overlooks the pool, so if you use it, you’ll be an inspiration to every lazy couch potato lounging around in the water. They also offer free fitness classes in the morning by the pool, including tai chi, yoga and Latin dance (we need coffee before we attempt that last one). They have Friday evening wine mixers and pupus in the lobby.

2020-07-09T15:05:26-10:00 Rating: No Award

Hawaiian King

(800) 545-1948 or (808) 924-3332
417 Nohonani St, Waikiki
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This low-rise condo building (by Waikiki standards) surrounds its pool and exudes a 1960s feel even today. The services are good here—very personalized from Winston Condos, an original owner that keeps the place humming. Their customer return rate is pretty high; people seem satisfied. Each room is independently owned, so they’re all decorated differently.

Overall, the building is very well maintained with a pretty pool area. On the downside, the front units are right on the road, and there is a bar with karaoke in the building, so expect to hear bad versions of Tiny Bubbles. Rear-facing units are better. You’re a few blocks from the beach. There is no longer any parking available for guests, and they prefer guests to be over 21.

1/1s (588–788 sq. ft.

2020-07-09T14:49:06-10:00 Rating: Solid Gold Value

Hawaiian Monarch Hotel

(866) 293-4738 or (808) 945-3444
444 Niu St, Waikiki
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Well, you found it. This is the most distant hotel in Waikiki that’s technically still in Waikiki. The only thing convenient about the location is that when you’re leaving Waikiki, it’s on the corner on your way out. The rooms are unremarkable at best. The staff at one point was trying to improve the hotel, now they just seem trying… period. No lanais on the rooms, but they have a gigantic pool deck—not the pool, just the deck. Their spa/hot tub may or may not be open on your visit. Hard to get happy about this one. Rooms (262–325 sq. ft.) are $95–$239. At least they’re are pretty cheap—sometimes.

2020-07-09T15:37:25-10:00 Rating: No Award

Hilton Garden Inn Waikiki Beach

(800) 445-8667 or (808) 892-1820
2330 Kuhio Ave, Waikiki
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This 1973 property was formerly the Ohana Waikiki West. Like so many other recent Waikiki hotel transformations, the $110 million spent on Hilton Garden Inn Waikiki Beach was well worth it. Everything was gutted and replaced, even the elevators and the pool. From the moment you walk in, Hilton Garden Inn Waikiki Beach has a fresh, modern feel with a lot of warmth. Each of the Garden Inns around Hawai‘i is unique, and we like that about this brand. It’s not overly pretentious or too pricey.

The pool deck isn’t very large for a resort of this size, but it works with a full-service bar (although, if you want food you’ll have to order a takeaway from the restaurant located in the lobby), a billiard table, plenty of seating and a view overlooking the new International Market Place.

2020-07-09T14:21:07-10:00 Rating: No Award

Hilton Hawaiian Village

(800) 445-8667 or (808) 949-4321
2005 Kalia Rd, Waikiki
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Where do we start? We’ve reviewed every resort in Hawai‘i, and this is the biggest kahuna of them all. On a typical day they’ll have over 6,000 guests serviced by 1,700 employees, which practically qualifies it as a small town. If you’re looking for a pulsating, always-moving resort, this place hums. If you’re looking for peace and quiet, you’ve definitely come to the wrong place. It can get very crowded at the pools, and their multi-level 5,000-sq.-ft. Paradise Pool has a 77-foot lava tube slide and a waterfall that is very popular.There are eight massive towers (the tallest is 38 stories) with the Rainbow Tower being the closest to the water and the Ali‘i Tower having the best services. The grounds are strewn with tropical plants, flowing ponds, swimming pools and some exotic birds. The Ali‘i Tower is the nicest (non-timeshare) tower. It’s the best furnished and offers more personalized services.

2020-07-09T15:35:07-10:00 Rating: No Award

Hilton Waikiki Beach

(888) 243-9252 or (808) 922-0811
2500 Kuhio Ave, Waikiki
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The hotel feels geared toward the business traveler with many amenities and no resort fee. Rooms are clean and very modern with their trademark Serenity beds and 42-inch TVs that you can connect to your computer. Rooms either face the mountains (which are very nice) or the ocean. Those ocean views can be pretty good because they don’t have many tall buildings in front of them. All rooms have large bathrooms with showers, but some tubs are available.

There is an executive lounge on the 37th floor with a commanding ocean view. Their restaurant/bar called Mac 24-7 is open 24 hours/7 days a week (yeah, we know that’s painfully obvious from the name, but people still ask). Their lobby bar often has live music. There is also a Hang 10 dining option on the pool deck level.

2020-07-09T14:31:02-10:00 Rating: No Award

Holiday Inn Express Honolulu-Waikiki

(888) 465-4329 or (808) 947-2828
2058 Kuhio Ave, Waikiki
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Formerly the Maile Sky Court, this hotel was remodeled and rebranded in 2017 for $40 million. They did a good job of turning around a very dated property, but certain things couldn’t be changed because they’re part of the original building—for example, no room has a lanai. Rooms are basic, clean and modern without being overly furnished for their small size. King bed rooms have showers only. Other rooms have small tub/shower combos.

The location is pretty poor—it’s only convenient when you want to leave Waikiki; otherwise, it’s a ways from the beach here—at least a 15-minute walk and a long walk to most restaurants. Good thing they have their trademark full breakfast included in your room rate.

2020-07-09T15:33:51-10:00 Rating: No Award

Holiday Surf

(888) 923-8488 or (808) 923-8488
2303 Ala Wai Blvd, Waikiki
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This is a family-operated hotel, and it’s pretty no-frills. No room safes, but you can use the front desk’s. They have made upgrades, and it was in the best shape we’ve ever seen it for this edition. Upgrades include some new showers, some new bedding, some new floors and some new furniture, but it’s still a pretty basic place to stay. Many ceilings either have cloud- or ocean-themed murals, which is good, because you can’t see the actual ocean from here. (It’s a pretty long walk.) This hotel doesn’t feel the most secure to us, but they have installed security cameras on the property. Not all rooms have phones. Their resort fee seems high to us considering there are no facilities here. Studios (315 sq. ft.) are $129–$300, 1/1s (350 sq. ft.) are $229–$400. Their online website rates usually have good discounts.

2020-07-09T14:50:43-10:00 Rating: No Award

Hostelling International Waikiki

(808) 926-8313
2417 Prince Edward St, Waikiki
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This hostel located right in the heart of Waikiki is clean and well run. There’s no A/C (it does get hot—at least they have fans), but sheets and a towel are provided when you check in. Bring your own padlock for the lockers, which will hold laptops. They’ll loan you beach gear. This is a more laid-back hostel than Waikiki Beachside. No smoking, no alcohol allowed, and dorms are not co-ed.

Dorms are $33 or $36 (non-members) a night, and private rooms with a bath are $74 or $80 (non-members). $128 for the family room ($140 for non-members) Tax included. Maximum stay is 7 nights during any six-month period, and you must show your travel itinerary.

2020-07-09T14:41:15-10:00 Rating: No Award

Hotel La Croix

(808) 955-3741
2070 Kalakaua Ave, Waikiki
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This hotel—formerly the Waikiki Gateway—completed renovations in 2017, resulting in clean, modern rooms and lobby. It seems to be positioning itself as a boutique-type property, and in many ways it works well—for example, new room designs and the great breakfast included in your rate.

But in other ways it just doesn’t work that well. The building is tapered, so rooms and some lanais get smaller the higher you go. Not all rooms on the top floor have lanais, but there are extra large lanais on the 16th floor and some adjoining rooms available. Kitchenette rooms are located on floors 4 to 9. You’re nearing the fringes of Waikiki here, and it’s a 15-minute walk to the beach, so it’s hard to get excited about the distant ocean views. (There’s only a small pool area at the hotel.

2020-07-09T15:31:06-10:00 Rating: Solid Gold Value

Hotel Renew

(855) 747-0763 or (808) 687-7700
129 Paoakalani Ave, Waikiki
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This is a small hotel that is sexy, urban and chic—not typical Waikiki. The color scheme is dark, rich, warm and inviting. Literally everything was designed especially for them, and every place you look there is something unusual, from the lobby washroom sinks (we’ll let you be surprised) to the koi pond fountain. They are not on the beach, but oceanview rooms can still be quite nice because they directly face the water, and the beach is one block away.

Rooms do not have a fridge—we feel this is a necessity in Waikiki. Rooms are small, but storage has been carefully designed to make the most of the space. Though this place still works for us as an intimate hotel experience close to the beach, it lost its Real Gem rating for this edition because you no longer have access to a pool or gym. A continental breakfast is included, and they have a nightly happy hour in the lobby. Rooms (240–307 sq. ft.) are $389–$489.

2020-07-09T14:24:49-10:00 Rating: No Award

Hyatt Centric Waikiki Beach

(800) 233-1234 or (808) 237-1234
349 Seaside Ave, Waikiki
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This is probably the only “new” resort in Waikiki that, unlike others, wasn’t a resort before it opened in late 2016. It had a previous life as an office building, which gives it some added benefits, such as 12-foot ceilings, unique room layouts and a lobby on the eighth floor.

When you walk in, you feel suddenly transported from the street noise because the lobby is open and welcoming with a lounge and plenty of seating areas, a large screen TV and an enormous hanging chair (popular for selfies). Many events are held in the lobby, which is called the lanai (because no rooms have an actual lanai). The front desk staff is often seen making sure guests have everything they need, including the hotel’s signature whiskey that is aged in wooden barrels in the basement.

2020-07-09T13:47:41-10:00 Rating: A Real Gem

Hyatt Place Waikiki Beach

(800) 993-4751 or (808) 922-3861
175 Paoakalani Ave, Waikiki
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This hotel is a block from the beach but kind of boxed in, so views are somewhat limited—get a room as high as you can (10 or above). The rooms are modern and spacious in layout—especially the deluxe rooms. Some bathrooms have Washlet toilets. The rooms in the Diamond Head Tower are their regular category, and most have king beds and shower-only—no tub—bathrooms. Most of the deluxe rooms are in the Pali Tower and come with either two queen beds (which have tub/showers in bathrooms) or one king. All rooms have a sofabed, so a family in a deluxe room will have plenty of sleeping options.

A self-serve hot breakfast is included on the pool deck (or take it to your room with tray provided) with breakfast sandwiches, French toast, cereals, fruits, juices, rice and miso, etc. It doesn’t stay open very late—9:30 a.m. during the week and 10 a.m.

2020-07-09T14:27:22-10:00 Rating: Solid Gold Value

Hyatt Regency Waikiki

(800) 554-9288 or (808) 923-1234
2424 Kalakaua Ave, Waikiki
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The Hyatt Regency Waikiki is one of the bigger resorts. It consists of two towers surrounding a huge, open atrium with gobs of shops and a three-story man-made waterfall that makes for an impressive lobby. Hyatt Regency Waikiki’s 10,000-sq.-ft. Na Ho‘ola Spa has some breathtaking views. You’re right across the street from Waikiki Beach Center, but it’ll take a little time to make your way through the Hyatt Regency Waikiki to the beach. The pool area feels a bit cramped and small for such a large resort. The ocean-facing cabanas are reasonably priced at $60 per day and include water, fruit and cookies. There is a seasonal children’s program, and they even take the keiki off-site to places like the Waikiki Aquarium and the zoo.

2020-07-09T14:40:17-10:00 Rating: No Award

Ilikai Hotel & Suites

(866) 940-2782 or (808) 949-3811
1777 Ala Moana Blvd, Waikiki
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This resort used to consist of two towers, but only the original 26-story Ilikai Tower remains. The top four floors and the second floor—201 rooms—are part of the hotel managed by Aqua Resorts. The rest are condos, rentals and timeshares and not included in this review and amenities. Also, the front desk can’t help you much if you haven’t rented through Aqua.

Since it’s next to the Ala Wai Yacht Harbor, a nautical sense permeates the resort with views that can be quite relaxing if you face the harbor. It’s not on Waikiki Beach; expect a 5-minute walk along the shoreline. Rooms renovated in 2014 are clean, white and modern. All rooms now have a full kitchen. Bathrooms are shower-only (no tubs). The hotel’s common areas have filled up since our last visit with many shops and some very popular restaurants.

2020-07-09T15:37:56-10:00 Rating: No Award

Ilima Hotel

(800) 801-9366 or (808) 923-1877
445 Nohonani St, Waikiki
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This pink building feels like condos because all the rooms have full kitchens, but it’s run like a hotel, so we’re calling it a hotel. The decor is pink (surprise!) and green, mostly clean, but very dated. With all the older hotels in the area getting upgraded, we feel the Ilima may be left behind at this point. But it has some endearing qualities, including the warm staff who sing Hawaiian songs to guests in the lobby at 11:30 a.m. every Friday. They also offer shell lei making classes, which are very popular.

We have given this a Solid Gold Value in past editions, but its lack of updating prices it currently about what it’s worth. Studios (530 sq. ft.) are $178–$268, 1/1s (650 sq. ft.) are $230–$280, 2/1s (770 sq. ft.) are $300–$350. 3/2 penthouse with washer/dryer (1,450 sq. ft.) is $560–$600. Lots of discounts available.

2020-07-09T14:50:20-10:00 Rating: No Award

Imperial Hawai‘i Resort

(800) 347-2582 or (808) 923-1827
205 Lewers St, Waikiki
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This timeshare property has some vacation rentals available throughout the year. The rooms could use updating since they have not changed furnishings much in all the years we have visited. The studios have pull-down Murphy beds, making good use of the space. Some units have showers only, so if you need a tub, you should request it when booking. They don’t guarantee the floor or view you’ll get when you book—only the type of unit. Fourth- and fifth-floor units have no lanais. Floors 20 and above give you good views of the ocean, if you face that way. Housekeeping is every fourth day. Studios with kitchenette (350 sq. ft.) are $136–$151, 1/1s with kitchenette (450 sq. ft.) are $194–$209, 1/2s with full kitchen (525–575 sq. ft.) are $210–$220, 2/2s with full kitchen (700 sq. ft.) are $260–$270.

2020-07-09T15:05:58-10:00 Rating: No Award

Island Colony

(866) 940-2782 or (808) 923-2345
445 Seaside Ave, Waikiki
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This place is big with over 700 condos that are either owner occupied or rented out as vacation rentals. About 96 of the rooms are managed by Aqua, which they call the “Aqua Skyline.” The rest are condos that we did not review. The rooms are modern and fresh, so make sure you ask for a “Skyline” unit if you want an updated room. Odd-numbered upper floor rooms have the best views, which can be fairly expansive, but it’s still pretty far from the ocean. Lanais are huge while bathrooms are small—go figure. No A/C in the living rooms of 1-bedroom units, which can get hot. (Good thing their bathrooms have a large oval tub to cool down in.) Their pool deck is enormous, but most of it seems underused. Studios (308 sq. ft.) are $249–$289. 1/1s (570 sq. ft.) are $369–$389. Discounts available.

2020-07-09T14:51:45-10:00 Rating: No Award

Kai Aloha Hotel

(808) 923-6723
235 Saratoga Rd, Waikiki
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This tiny, family-run resort was showing its age on our recent visit, and without a locking gate to access one-bedroom units on the second floor, you may want to avoid those as there may be some security concerns on this property. (First floor one-bedrooms and third floor studios have a security gate.) The furnishings are old—perhaps the originals in many cases—but with newer slipcovers. You get the feeling it hasn’t changed much since it was built—they even have stove-top coffee percolators in rooms. But, hey, you ain’t paying for the Halekulani.

The trolley to get around Waikiki stops right out front. It’s hard to find lodging much cheaper this close to the beach, but rooms are priced about what they are worth. The one bedrooms have A/C only in the bedrooms. Wi-Fi is only available on the second floor sun deck, but it’s free. Only the studios have private lanais.

2020-07-09T15:24:42-10:00 Rating: No Award

Kaimana Beach Hotel

(800) 356-8264 or (808) 923-1555
2863 Kalakaua Ave, Waikiki
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This hotel has new management and a new name as of Dec. 2020. We will be re-reviewing it as soon as we can.

This hotel consists of two buildings: an oceanfront high rise and their Diamond Head wing (3-story walk-up). Their oceanfront category rooms are extremely intimate with the beach—they look straight down onto the sand—and since the tallest room is nine stories up, you’ll never feel completely detached.

Rooms are clean and modern. The bathrooms have hand-held showerheads, which come in handy to clean your sandy feet because it’s on lovely Sans Souci Beach. The beach is the reason for the Real Gem rating. Though still expensive, you won’t get rooms like that for this price in more centrally located Waikiki resorts. And there’s the reason for the lower prices—it’s a fairly long walk to the heart of Waikiki, and many will opt to drive and pay to park.

2020-10-13T15:53:56-10:00 Rating: A Real Gem

Lotus Honolulu

(866) 940-2782 or (808) 922-1700
2885 Kalakaua Ave, Waikiki
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A hotel separated from the ocean by other buildings. Most of the rooms have good Diamond Head views. Ocean views (if you have one) are not as striking. The ambiance is minimalist Asian. The rooms are large and comfortable, most with shower-only bathrooms. They serve free coffee in the mornings in the lobby (there’s also an Illy coffee maker in your room), and wine is served in the late afternoons. If you book direct, a continental breakfast is included.

The rack rates feel really high to us for a resort that’s not on the beach, has no pool and is far from the heart of Waikiki. Luckily there is a free shuttle that runs every 30 minutes or so and stops at points around Waikiki and as far as Ala Moana Shopping Center. There is no fitness room, but they do have daily yoga classes and bikes for guest use. Try for a fifth floor or higher room, if possible.

2020-07-09T14:13:03-10:00 Rating: No Award

Luana Waikiki

(866) 940-2782 or (808) 955-6000
2045 Kalakaua Ave, Waikiki
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Although each room is individually owned, all are decorated similarly in an antique Hawaiiana theme and are nicely appointed. Rooms facing the ocean have unusually good views given the distance, thanks to the tranquil park between you and the water 0.3 miles away. Best views are from the eighth floor and above. Their pool is small for this size condo complex, but it has comfy chairs and cabanas. There’s a weekly manager’s cocktail reception and a morning yoga class four days a week. They will even loan you bicycles as part of your resort fee. Overall, this is probably the best property in the immediate area.

Hotel-type rooms (340 sq. ft.) are $300–$330, studios with kitchenette (340 sq. ft.) are $350, 1/1s (657–746 sq. ft. and full kitchen) are $450–$550, 2/2s (1,126 sq. ft. with washer/dryer in unit) are $750.

2020-07-09T15:25:28-10:00 Rating: No Award

Marina Tower Waikiki

(808) 952-5600
1700 Ala Moana Blvd, Waikiki
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This condo is kind of an odd place. This 40-story building has only four rooms per floor. The building is skinny, and rooms are small and oddly shaped. Not bad, just strange. Most of the rooms have ocean views (some quite expansive if you are on 15th floor or higher), but none have lanais. Kitchenettes in all rooms. The interiors vary widely as each unit is privately owned. This used to be part of another hotel, and at press time they were making changes, so this is a bit of a moving target. Rooms have showers only—no tubs. Rooms (370 sq. ft.) are $99–$149.

2020-07-09T15:46:51-10:00 Rating: No Award

Moana Surfrider, A Westin Resort

(866) 500-8313 or (808) 922-3111
2365 Kalakaua Ave, Waikiki
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This is one of Waikiki’s most historic hotels, originally opened in 1901, and the second floor has a nice display describing the legacy of this establishment. Their three buildings surround a century-old banyan tree that lends an air of timelessness to the ambiance. As an early player in Waikiki, their location is among the best on the beach. The most recent renovations are tasteful and in keeping with its architecture. Even the Banyan Wing rooms are now a tasteful blend of modern Hawaiian decor and convenience in a historic setting.

The buildings are compact enough that you won’t have to do much walking (except to where your car is parked behind the Princess Kaiulani). You have signing privileges at the other Starwood resorts in Waikiki.

The oceanfront rooms labeled Diamond Deluxe Ocean are the most recommended. The views are amazing with the sound of the ocean ever-present.

2020-07-09T15:49:56-10:00 Rating: A Real Gem

Ohana East

(800) 462-6262 or (808) 922-5353
150 Kaiulani Ave, Waikiki
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This is a well-maintained hotel in the center of Waikiki. The furnishings are older but in decent shape. As an Ohana hotel, they cater more to families. Rooms are pretty small and tight, and standard rooms have no lanai. (City-view rooms are a bit bigger and worth the extra $10–$20.) The showers are tiny with hand-held shower heads—drop the soap and you gotta open the door to pick it up. The walls don’t block much sound, and if you get a room ending in -00, you may be forced to continuously hear the elevators. Connecting rooms available.

Parking here wins the bonehead award for design. If you keep driving to the top of the garage looking for a space, there is literally no place to turn around.

2020-07-09T14:45:41-10:00 Rating: No Award

Ohana Waikiki Malia

(800) 462-6262 or (808) 923-7621
2211 Kuhio Ave, Waikiki
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Two towers make up this hotel—the Malia Tower and the original nine-story Luana Wing that has the 1/1 units (with kitchenettes). The Hawaiian-accented rooms are clean but have ultra tiny lanais—big enough for one, and that’s about it in the main tower. Luana lanais are larger. Unlike most Ohana resorts, the showers/tubs are normal-sized (Luana tubs are smaller). There’s a tiny pool and spa sandwiched between buildings. You could never sit and relax there. The staff is very warm and welcoming.

Avoid 1/1 units that end in -01—they’re right over a busy corner. Lots of connecting rooms available. Though there are no ocean view categories, you may be able to catch a glimpse from upper floor, odd-numbered rooms in the tower. Overall, it’s an adequate choice. Rooms (286–331 sq. ft.) are $279–$329, 1/1s (510 sq. ft.) are $329–$349. Discounts available.

2020-07-09T14:35:53-10:00 Rating: No Award

Outrigger Reef Waikiki Beach Resort

(800) 688-7444 or (808) 923-3111
2169 Kalia Rd, Waikiki
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This hotel is right on the beach. The decor has a Hawaiian feel with all the modern amenities. The Ocean Tower is worth the extra money here. The pool area can be very busy because some other Outrigger properties have access to it. Their lobby offers a sit-down check-in rather than standing in long lines. Their Shorebird Restaurant is good. Rooms facing the Waikiki Shore are uncomfortably close to that building. You can practically reach over and peel the paint off their walls, and some of those rooms don’t have a lanai. There are lots of Hawaiian cultural demonstrations, activities and nightly local big-name entertainment. Lots of connecting rooms here. Rooms (340–405 sq. ft.) are $489–$819, suites (589–2,151 sq. ft.) are $709–$5,559. Few pay the rack rate here.

2020-07-09T14:41:47-10:00 Rating: No Award

Outrigger Waikiki on the Beach

(800) 688-7444 or (808) 923-0711
2335 Kalakaua Ave, Waikiki
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This hotel’s location on the beach is fantastic, though the building design means that only a small percentage of rooms are right over the beach. They’re near the center of action in Waikiki, and their restaurants—especially Duke’s Canoe Club—are winners. The last renovation included soundproofing to the walls between rooms. (Wish other resorts would think of this.) In previous editions this resort was a Real Gem, and it’s unprecedented that we like a place less after a renovation, but there’s always a first time. The new color scheme feels dated and dark. And other aspects seem out of place in modern Waikiki. We’re afraid they missed the mark this time.

On the up side, services are nice here—such as a sit-down check-in—and the staff is very good.

2020-07-09T15:22:44-10:00 Rating: No Award

Pacific Monarch

(866) 940-2782 or (808) 923-9805
2427 Kuhio Ave, Waikiki
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These condos are individually owned, but most rooms in the Aqua rental pool have a consistent look that is light and appealing. Studios have a kitchenette and a standing-room-only lanai. Lanais on 1/1s are large, and some of the views (especially from the rooftop pool and 1 bedroom units ending in -02 and -03) are very pretty. Definitely go for a room higher up, like the 12th floor upward. There’s a weekly manager’s reception on Wednesdays. They loan you beach chairs and towels. Studios (360 sq. ft.) are $299–$319, 1/1s (443 sq. ft.) are $359–$399. If you get a good discount, you’ll be happy here.

2020-07-09T14:52:34-10:00 Rating: A Real Gem

Park Shore Waikiki

(808) 923-0411
2586 Kalakaua Ave, Waikiki
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Update:  There is some work on-going to exterior of the building. No date was giving for finishing at this time.

This hotel is near the park and the shore, so it’s aptly named. The rooms are clean and simple but a tad small. They added smart TVs so you can connect your devices for streaming. Standard rooms have very small lanais that you can only stand on. Rooms on the pool side have great views. Rooms that open onto the pool deck are handy for people with kids (and they’re slightly larger). A few connecting rooms available. Across the street from the beach.

Rooms (234–263 sq. ft.) are $295–$520, suites (298–789 sq. ft.) are $2,200 across the board. Most people don’t pay those rack rates.

2020-07-09T14:29:51-10:00 Rating: No Award

Pearl Hotel Waikiki

(808) 922-1616
415 Nahua St, Waikiki
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Rooms are bright and modern with large, updated bathrooms. All rooms have a fridge, microwave and coffee maker; suites add two burners. Room sizes are pretty big, except for the standard category, which also has the only rooms without lanais. However, this resort feels overpriced because of the lack of facilities, such as a pool, and there are no real views. Limited reserved parking is $30. Rooms (271–451 sq. ft.) are $220–$235. Suites (722–1,181 sq. ft.) are $365–$500. Almost three blocks from the beach.

2020-07-09T14:48:45-10:00 Rating: No Award

Polynesian Hostel Beach Club

(808) 922-1340
2584 Lemon Rd, Waikiki
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This is a pretty friendly hostel on same block as a few other hostels that we did not review, and you may want to avoid. This place has a lot of aloha and is one block from the beach. It radiates from both the staff and guests.

The dorms sleep from four to up to 12 people. They do some very popular and economical tours starting at a buck for their sunrise hike to more money for SCUBA trips or North Shore tours. They also have free hula shows on site. There is a common area with tables, hammocks and a small TV. They have beach gear available—surf boards (for rent), boogie boards and snorkel gear. The lockers are free in the dorms (bring your own lock or buy one from them) and are moderately sized, but they will also store your luggage for free while you visit, go camping or even leave the island.

2020-07-09T14:34:32-10:00 Rating: No Award

Prince Waikiki

(888) 977-4623 or (808) 956-1111
100 Holomoana St, Waikiki
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It’s truly amazing what $55.4 million and a excellent sense of place have done for the former Hawai‘i Prince Hotel Waikiki. Everything from the lobby all the way up has been transformed. And great care has been taken to make this place really shine—so much so that we gave it a Real Gem for this edition. The area has changed a bit, too, with more restaurants coming in and a more central feel to Honolulu, but it’s still lacking a beach.

This resort is set apart from the rest of Waikiki. Located at the extreme edge of Waikiki where the Ala Wai Canal meets the ocean, odds are that whenever you want to wander around Waikiki, you’ll either take their free shuttle into the main area, the public bus, or drive and battle for a parking place. Same goes for going to the beach.

2020-07-09T15:45:13-10:00 Rating: A Real Gem

Queen Kapiolani Hotel

(800) 533-6970 or (808) 922-1941
150 Kapahulu Ave, Waikiki
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New management has taken over yet again at this hotel, and they have some solid plans to turn this into a more contemporary destination. We had a chance to view the new rooms—sort of mid-century, retro, beach house chic. (How’s that for a category?) For now the common areas are all in need of updating, and plans are in the works to do so. This is a resort in transition, and we will be back once it’s done to re-review it. The restaurant is open-air on the pool deck, which is also slated for upgrades.

The view from their pool is wonderful, with an expansive vista from Diamond Head to part of Waikiki, and rooms facing the ocean or Diamond Head are most desirable here. It’s a short block to the beach.

Rooms (175–355 sq. ft.) are $179–$269, suites (370–615 sq. ft.) are $279–$600. Few pay the rack rates.

2020-07-09T15:50:26-10:00 Rating: No Award

Ramada Plaza Waikiki

(888) 992-4545 or (808) 955-1111
1830 Ala Moana Blvd, Waikiki
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A simple, clean, basic, reliable hotel. If you’re looking for a lanai, you’ll need a room near the end of the hallway from the fifth floor up. Their fitness room is nothing to get excited about, and the pool area feels pretty functional. The hotel is owned by China Airlines, and a lot of their crew (and other airline crews) stay here. Almost a Solid Gold Value. Rooms (240 sq. ft.) are $110–$199, Jr. suites with kitchenettes (480 sq. ft.) are $325.

2020-07-09T14:22:12-10:00 Rating: No Award

Royal Grove Hotel

(808) 923-7691
151 Uluniu Ave, Waikiki
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This is a bright pink, low-rise building, and not much seems to have changed since it was built back in the 1960s. Housekeeping is daily if you pay the daily rate, every three days for weekly stay, and once a week for monthly stays. Local calls are $0.50. It’s cheap, but it’s pretty run down—although they have made some effort, adding new carpets in the hallways and some “new” furnishings, but don’t expect much. Your room may or may not have a coffee maker. If you have to store any valuables, they can hold them for you at the front desk as there are no room safes. We have not seen much change in all our editions—go figgah?

On the upside, they do have nice staff, and the owner plays the ‘ukulele with some other locals at the Monday music jams. Studios (approx. 300 sq. ft. for up to three people) are $70–$90 (cheapest rooms are in the older building, which has no A/C or lanais), 1/1s (approx. 375 sq. ft.

2020-07-09T14:25:14-10:00 Rating: No Award

Royal Hawaiian (Sheraton)

(866) 500-8313 or (808) 923-7311
2259 Kalakaua Ave, Waikiki
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The Royal Hawaiian is one of the premier resorts in Waikiki. Back when they built this place in 1927, there was only one other hotel—the nearby Moana. The Royal Hawaiian’s developers had their pick of where to build, so they chose this part of the beach. And no wonder—this is probably the best stretch of Waikiki—surfable waves offshore and sandy near-shore waters. (Though the water tends to be oddly cloudy here.) Also, this area is the heart of Waikiki with tons of stuff to do nearby, yet it’s insulated from busy Kalakaua Avenue by the Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center. By location alone they stand apart. But it gets even better when you add the fact that it’s a six-story, low-rise building with pretty grounds that have plenty of breathing room, dominated by some old, meandering trees—popular for weddings. The result is a less bustling atmosphere than many of the nearby tower-dominated resorts.

2020-07-09T15:36:21-10:00 Rating: A Real Gem

Sheraton Princess Kaiulani

(888) 627-8110 or (808) 922-5811
120 Kaiulani Ave, Waikiki
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This hotel sits on the site of the summer home of Princess Ka‘iulani, crown princess of Hawai’i, who died in 1899. Pictures of her and historic information is scattered around the hotel.

The resort consists of three very different buildings, and the tallest building doesn’t directly face the ocean. Rooms in the Princess wing do not have lanais. There doesn’t seem to be a single theme running through the resort—it’s as if all three buildings were unrelated, but they are trying. It seems that every time we visit, the resort is in a constant state of transition with some rooms renovated and others not. This resort was scheduled for more upgrades at press time. The renovated rooms have incorporated their namesake’s favorite bird, the peacock, into the room design. They are clean, simple and pleasant. Other rooms are not updated but can be had for much less money.

2020-07-09T14:33:56-10:00 Rating: No Award

Sheraton Waikiki

(866) 500-8313 or (808) 922-4422
2255 Kalakaua Ave, Waikiki
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Although there are bigger resorts, Sheraton Waikiki 31-story tower is the biggest single hotel building in all Hawai‘i. It’s so big you can actually get lost in the hallways, which keep going and going and going. You can do a lot of walking at this sprawling hotel, which can feel pretty busy.

The oceanfront rooms directly facing the ocean are simply glorious, looking down onto the water and the reef where turtles feed at dusk. You might want to avoid what they classify as “oceanview” rooms if they face the Royal Hawaiian on lower floors. “Oceanview” seems too generous for some of those rooms. Don’t pay for mid-view rooms here. Either splurge for the best, or save by getting the cheapest views and pocket the savings. (City view or mountain view? Who really cares?) The rooms are on the small side but are clean and modern. There are few resorts in Waikiki that feel this cozy with the ocean.

2020-07-09T14:44:45-10:00 Rating: No Award

Shoreline Hotel Waikiki

(855) 931-2444 or (808) 931-2444
342 Seaside Ave, Waikiki
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This hotel started life as a place for United Airlines’ staff but reopened in 2013 as a boutique-type hotel. The rooms are on the small side in sort of a 1950s retro-modern design. It’s fun and trendy.

Most rooms have showers, so if you need a tub, request one at booking. Some rooms have standing-room-only lanais and some don’t have a fridge, so the same requesting advice applies—we feel that a fridge is a necessity in Waikiki. The pool is small and requires a walk up to the roof, so you may want to stick to the beach. The views from the rooms are pretty urban (despite the name), but if you are lucky, you may be able to see some ocean from the 11th floor and above. They offer a free grab-and-go breakfast and have Kuerig coffeemakers in rooms (free coffee in lobby), but you only get starter pods.

2020-07-09T14:40:48-10:00 Rating: No Award

Stay Hotel Waikiki

(877) 870-7742 or (808) 923-7829
2424 Koa Ave, Waikiki
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This is an eight-story building that spent much of its life as a dormitory for University of Hawai‘i students. In 2011 it became a budget-type hotel. There are no room safes in the rooms, but there is one at the front desk. The lobby has black leather sofas, a row of hanging chairs and a large screen TV.

There are three room categories—the smallest (105 sq. ft.) has twin beds; the largest (225 sq. ft.) has a queen bed and a sofa bed. Only rooms from the fifth floor and above mostly have lanais. Usually we love lanais, but most of them here look into some of the remaining dorm buildings or other small walk-up type apartments. And the lanai cuts into already precious room space.

The bathrooms are tiny, and some are more awkward than others to get around in. They left the showers or tub/shower combos in pretty much original condition except for the rainshower heads. The rooms are white and very stark.

2020-07-09T14:51:18-10:00 Rating: Solid Gold Value

Surfjack Hotel & Swim Club

(866) 940-2782 or (808) 923-8882
412 Lewers St, Waikiki
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This hotel has a long history from bad to better to finally arrived. The latest owners worked with designers to make good use of the original bones of the hotel. The result is a fun atmosphere, but it’s ultimately overpriced.

The rooms are situated around a small oval pool whose message clearly spells out “Wish you were here” in tiles on the bottom. There are three large, comfy cabanas at the back of the pool area that go for $300 for two hours and for that, you get… the cabana. That’s waaay overpriced and should at least come with a masseuse, in our opinion.

The hotel rooms are very nice with small showers but also original art on the walls and Tori Richard fabric headboards that make each room feel really Hawaiian and hip at the same time.

2020-07-09T15:23:16-10:00 Rating: No Award

The Breakers

(800) 426-0494 or (808) 923-3181
250 Beach Walk, Waikiki
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An old-time, two-story low-rise from the mid-’50s that has lots of character. It’s pretty inexpensive and has a fairly tranquil, slow-paced feel. Very little has changed over the years, including the staff. This is more like a stay in old-time Hawai‘i.

It’s in one of the denser sections of Waikiki. The rooms are comfortably-sized and have kitchenettes. The decor is clean, but fixtures are old, probably original, but updated pool furnishings are nice to see. Units facing the pool are best. No elevators. Free coffee at the front desk most of the day. There’s a Japanese teahouse on the premises, and tea services take place a few days a week. Parking is free but limited—six stalls, first-come, first-served each day, or you can park across the street in Fort DeRussy parking lot for about $36 or street parking. Local calls are $0.50 and large room safes are $2 per day.

Rooms based on two people (360 sq.

2020-07-09T14:36:22-10:00 Rating: No Award

The Equus

(800) 669-7719 or (808) 949-0061
1696 Ala Moana Blvd, Waikiki
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This is small boutique family-run hotel is very “green” (not the color, the consciousness—cleaning agents, recycling, efficient toilets, etc.). Rooms are well-furnished but not overly large; some have had the lanais removed to expand interior (and those rooms tend to have less road noise).

The decor is a blend of Chinese, horses and polo, and it works quite well. The owner was a professional polo player and is still often seen around the hotel. Prints of historical photos from the Bishop Museum line the hallways showing the history of horses and paniolo (Hawaiian cowboys). This hotel is not wheelchair accessible due to stairs at the entrance, and you won’t find many kids here either.

Their weakest points are the small pool, which is sandwiched between two buildings, a busy road and no laundry on site. There are no bathtubs, and the shower ceilings feel low.

2020-07-09T15:25:03-10:00 Rating: Solid Gold Value

The Laylow Autograph Collection

(866) 913-6852 or (808) 922-6600
2299 Kuhio Ave, Waikiki
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Usually when we look at a renovated hotel, we can detect the bones of the previous property. In this case, the $60 million renovations to the old Aqua Waikiki Wave have made this property’s lobby and pool area completely unrecognizable to us. In fact, the whole lobby, restaurant and pool area used to be the roof and office space. The transformation is remarkable, fun and relaxed. The whole design is based on 1950s Hawaii without being too kitschy. Many of the furniture pieces are actually vintage refurbished items from that era. There are hanging chairs scattered about and plenty of couches to plunk down on in the open-air lobby lanai. The staff runs around making sure you have everything you need, and they truly seem to enjoy their jobs while showing plenty of aloha.

The pool area is not big or deep (3 feet), mostly a splash pool with some lounge chairs in the shallow wading section.

2020-07-09T14:46:16-10:00 Rating: No Award

The Modern Honolulu

(855) 970-4161 or (808) 450-3379
1775 Ala Moana Blvd, Waikiki
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The hotel used to be part of the Ilikai Hotel next door. In 2010, after $240 million worth of renovations, it reopened as The Modern. They tout themselves as “luxurious, yet brilliantly laid-back,” and we agree. This is one of the few places where internet photos just don’t do it justice, and we’ve never said that before.

From the moment you enter, you immediately feel welcomed and relaxed. The color scheme is taupe and white mixed with dark browns and wood tones. The resort can be very busy, yet it never feels crowded because there are so many places to hang out. They have two pools and decks—one for families and one for adults only. The family saltwater pool has a lounging area poolside, and both pools have bars with poolside service for food and drinks. It’s not on the beach, but it embraces the Ala Wai Boat Harbor so well it seems almost part of it.

2020-07-09T15:48:44-10:00 Rating: A Real Gem

The Regency on Beachwalk

(800) 688-7444 or (808) 922-3871
255 Beach Walk, Waikiki
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This older condo building was transformed into a chic, modern, intimate property. Rooms have large showers only, no tubs. Free juice and coffee in the lobby all day. Lots of shopping and restaurants nearby. There is no pool, but you have access to the pool at the Outrigger Reef’s down the block. Limited self-parking is on a first-come, first-served basis, but overnight parking passes for nearby parking are available. Rooms are pretty small, but they make very good use of the space, except the sinks in the bathrooms are mounted pretty high. (Good if you’re tall; not so good if you’re not.) Local calls are a buck. 1/1s (550–670 sq. ft.) are $399–$469, 2/1s (750–850 sq. ft.) are $499–$569. 2-night minimum.

2020-07-09T15:38:39-10:00 Rating: No Award

Trump International Hotel & Tower Waikiki Beach Walk

(877) 683-7401 or (808) 683-7777
223 Saratoga Rd, Waikiki
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This condominium’s units are all privately owned, but about 300 are in the rental pool and are identically furnished. We went into this property thinking of the Trump properties in New York, but this one is owned by his children and has an understated elegance that is more suited to Hawai‘i. Rich warm browns, pale whites and earth tones abound here. With so much light-colored carpet and white suede seats, the cleaning people have their work cut out for them, and we are happy to say that since they have opened, things are looking just as pristine as on day one.

The rooms are very modern, yet felt a tad bit stark to us. The kitchens are well-stocked with high-end appliances, wine chillers and dishwashers, but you’ll never have to wash a dish because the twice-a-day housekeeping takes care of that.

2020-07-09T15:06:52-10:00 Rating: A Real Gem

Vive Hotel Waikiki

(808) 687-2000
2426 Kuhio Ave, Waikiki
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A chic, urban vibe hotel that opened in 2013. We love the huge lobby in this boutique hotel with its many comfy sofas and books and vintage board games like “Life.” It’s also where they serve the free continental breakfast and coffee and tea all day.

There are limited views of the ocean from some rooms whose decor is in keeping with the modern feel of the hotel. Even though the standard rooms are small, they make very good use of the space by including an under-bed drawer storage. The 1/1 penthouse has the best view and is very spacious and comfortable. Other penthouses have themes like a library and a musician—both for obvious reasons. (We prefer the latter with an enormous painting of John Lennon and lots of bright colors.) All rooms provide use of a tablet to surf the net, watch Netflix or order extra towels, etc. (They only work inside the hotel—so no walking away with it.

2020-07-09T15:50:52-10:00 Rating: No Award

Waikiki Banyan

(855) 747-0763 or (808) 922-0555
201 Ohua Ave, Waikiki
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This large condo complex is good for families. There’s even a playground and basketball court next to the pool on the sixth floor, and when kids under 12 arrive, they’re given a beach-related grab bag. If you’re in Tower 2, be aware that some of your “ocean view” may be dominated by Tower 1, if you have a room directly facing that tower.

Aston’s rooms (main agent listed) have been upgraded to a standard look (nothing to rave about, but they’re OK). There’s one thing that got under our skin. They have BBQ grills available, but you’ll have to bring quarters, because they’re coin-operated. Yeah, it’s minor, but it’s annoying. 1/1s (535 sq. ft.) are $405–$485. Hope you did much better.

Koko Resorts is the second listed on-site agent. Their room rates start at about $110 and up per night. All units can be viewed online.

2020-07-09T14:30:22-10:00 Rating: No Award

Waikiki Beach Hotel

(855) 747-0763 or (808) 922-2511
2570 Kalakaua Ave, Waikiki
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Overall, this place feels busy and loud most of the time. The rooms are decorated with deep reds and dark chocolates—sort of a lava color scheme. Tiny lanais on the Diamond Head side are standing room only. They have a category called “select,” which are rooms with the best ocean-facing views. We’re not sure if they’re worth the extra money (nearly $80), since many rooms still enjoy an ocean view in other categories. Some connecting rooms available. Beach chairs available. If you got a good deal, you’re right across from the beach. Rooms (264–324 sq. ft.) are $389–$549. Suites (430–837 sq. ft.) are $559–$829. Few pay the rack rates.https://www.booking.com/hotel/us/hilton-waikiki-prince-kuhio.en.

2020-07-09T14:23:43-10:00 Rating: No Award

Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort & Spa

(800) 367-5370 or (808) 922-6611
2552 Kalakaua Ave, Waikiki
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This is the kind of place you think of when you imagine a large, very nice Hawaiian resort: tropical feel, open-air lobby and good staff. Even though it’s very large, it radiates the dreamy warmth you’re looking for without seeming too busy.

There are two towers here—the Kealohilani tower is closest to the ocean, while the Paoakalani tower is more of a walk to the beach. Both towers are named after Queen Lili‘uokalani’s summer homes. Literally translated they mean “heavenly fragrance”. Rooms in both towers have bright splashes of color, are very comfortable, nicely decorated and have large lanais.

2020-07-09T14:29:20-10:00 Rating: A Real Gem

Waikiki Beach Tower

(855) 747-0763 or (808) 926-6400
2470 Kalakaua Ave, Waikiki
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A skinny condominium building (only four units per floor) with giant rooms that are almost across the street from the beach. All rooms above the 18th floor have tasty ocean views. (Even those below 18 are fairly good.) Consistent and pleasing furnishings. Staff is very good. Parking is free valet—unheard of in Waikiki. This is a good place for families since there’s so much space in each unit. Lanais are large as well. The pool deck is a great place to hang out with plenty of comfy seating and even cook your meals at the full outdoor kitchen there. There is also a billiard table. The fitness room rivals those of many other area resorts. 1/1s (accomplished via a lock-off creating about 879 sq. ft. of living area) are $789. 2/2s (1,072 sq. ft.) are $889–$1,139, penthouse/presidential suites (1,072-2,900 sq. ft.) are $1,549–$1939. (We hope you got a better rate.

2020-07-09T14:32:17-10:00 Rating: A Real Gem

Waikiki Beachcomber

(808) 922-4646
2300 Kalakaua Ave, Waikiki
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This hotel is located in the heart of Waikiki next to the International Market Place, which makes venturing out particularly convenient. The rooms are modern and clean; some are small, but most feel larger than the square footage listed. Showers have hand-held showerheads and tiny tubs. Their view designations seem pretty fair compared to some of their competitors. The 10th floor and above have the best views. Connecting rooms available. Overall, if you get a good discount, you’ll probably be pretty happy. Rooms (324 sq. ft.) are $359–$459, suites (532–1,200 sq. ft.) are $599–$1,620.

2020-07-09T14:45:16-10:00 Rating: No Award

Waikiki Beachside Hostel

(866) 478-3888 or (808) 923-9566
2556 Lemon Rd, Waikiki
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This one of the more lively hostels on the island. Despite the name, it ain’t beachside, and there are other hostels in this block. Some should probably be avoided, and we did not review those.

There’s a big screen TV in the gathering room. The Beachside Kitchen restaurant on site has fairly inexpensive food for Waikiki—nothing over $10. They rent surf or boogie boards and beach floats. There’s no pay phone, but the front desk will let you use their phone for local calls. Lockers available for $0.25 each time you use them or $5 per day for storage—good if you want to access stuff a lot. Bed sheets provided, but bring your own towels (or buy one at front desk for $4, though they are not always available). They offer a free light breakfast—really just coffee and toast, but hey, it’s free.

Dorms house either four to up to eight people. Each dorm room has its own kitchen and bath.

2020-07-09T14:25:48-10:00 Rating: No Award

Waikiki Circle

(855) 747-0763 or (808) 923-1571
2464 Kalakaua Ave, Waikiki
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This hotel is built in the shape of a Chinese lantern. Most Waikiki resorts don’t have a 13th floor because it’s considered bad luck in western culture. The Asian owners here embrace the 13th floor and use feng shui to make many of their decorating and designing decisions. Even the outside wall on the Diamond Head side—once slated for removal—was spared because their feng shui master said that the wall was necessary to hold in the good luck. Most of the staff have been here a long time, and repeat guests will often be remembered.

The pie-shaped rooms are very small and feel even smaller than their stated square footage. But their space is used pretty efficiently. All rooms have a contemporary aquatic theme. And the circle theme abounds on headboards and even some furnishings. All rooms have two double beds.

If you want to minimize walking, this is the resort for you.

2020-07-09T14:31:24-10:00 Rating: No Award

Waikiki Grand Hotel

(800) 367-5004 or (808) 923-1814
134 Kapahulu Ave, Waikiki
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This condo building has Individually owned units. All have different furnishings—some interesting, some quirky island style, some dated—but all are clean. They are either hotel-type rooms (with fridge, microwave and coffee maker) or studios with kitchenettes (which add a stovetop). Some owners have expanded the interior of the rooms and removed the lanai. Rooms ending in 00-06 are inside corner rooms and have a profound lack of privacy. The 10th floor rooms facing the park have an expansive deck outside with lots of lounge chairs and tables. Your room may or may not have a phone, but you can use a free one in the lobby. The pool is at the back of the building, but you probably won’t use it anyway because the beach is only a minute away. This resort is popular with gay travelers, and there is a LGBT-friendly bar on the second floor. Hotel-type rooms (204–237 sq. ft.) are $107–$249, studios (253–396 sq. ft.

2020-07-09T14:24:25-10:00 Rating: No Award

Waikiki Resort Hotel

(800) 367-5116 or (808) 922-4911
2460 Koa Ave, Waikiki
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Many hotels can feel very impersonal in Waikiki, but this is an exception. Staff here on every visit we have made have always been very welcoming and warm. They clearly care about your comfort. Units are fairly roomy compared to their competitors with a clean, simple, contemporary decor. Connecting rooms are available. They have so many specials—including great internet rates that can knock as much as 35–50 percent off the price, depending on the time of year—and few people pay the rack rate listed below. If you get one of those discounts, it’s a Solid Gold Value for sure. Some renovations were planned at press time.

Rooms (315–348 sq. ft.) are $259–$400, mini suites (480 sq. ft.) are $280–$380, suites (696–1,060 sq. ft.) are $450–$1,200.

2020-07-09T14:32:41-10:00 Rating: No Award

Waikiki Sand Villa

(800) 247-1903 or (808) 922-4744
2375 Ala Wai Blvd, Waikiki
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This hotel consists of a tower building and a low-rise walk-up built around their pool area. Rooms are fairly ordinary, but clean with updated bedding and Washlet toilets in the bathrooms. The pool area is their high point—very picturesque. There is also a Japanese solar-powered foot spa that you and friends will enjoy while you relax your tootsies. The restaurant/bar is open until 4 a.m. They have a hospitality room for early check-ins or late check-outs, with showers, TVs and computers. Friendly, helpful staff will carry your heavy bags up three flights of stairs in the low-rise building with a smile. Free breakfast if you book a Deluxe category or higher for one or two people. Local and toll-free calls are $0.75. Overall, an easy Solid Gold Value. Rooms (274 sq. ft.) are $125–$215, studio kitchenettes (484 sq. ft.) are $175–$280.

2020-07-09T14:42:37-10:00 Rating: Solid Gold Value

Waikiki Shore

(800) 367-5004 or (808) 952-4500
2161 Kalia Rd, Waikiki
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A skinny condo building with one end touching Waikiki Beach. Nearly all units face Fort DeRussy Park, which is good because the back of the building is crammed up against the Outrigger Reef Waikiki Beach Resort. The higher up the better. (Fifth floor and above clears the trees and gives you a great view of the fireworks from the Hilton each Friday).

The agent on-site is Castle; but Outrigger Resorts (below) also manages some of the rooms here. This affects things like parking: It’s $30 to self-park through Castle and Outrigger whose on-property parking is limited, so other valet parking ($38) may be off-property. Outrigger guests also check in at Outrigger Reef Waikiki Beach Resort. Castle rentals have no pool; Outrigger rentals will let you use their frenzied pool next door at the Reef.

2020-07-09T14:53:08-10:00 Rating: Solid Gold Value

Waikiki Sunset

(855) 747-0763 or (808) 922-0511
229 Paoakalani Ave, Waikiki
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Even though the condos are individually owned, the rooms all have the same pleasant decor. This is one of the nicer Astons, and the rooms are comfortably sized. Staff is excellent and very warm, and services are reasonably high. It’s also a nice touch that the windows, even in the bedrooms, are floor to ceiling, making maximum use of whatever view the room has. End units facing Diamond Head have great views, even on relatively low floors (though floors 25 and higher are still preferred). They added a free hospitality room by the pool for late checkouts with access to showers, TV and computers. It’s not a Real Gem or a Solid Gold Value, but it’s got some components of both. 1/1s (515 sq. ft.) are $419–$499. 2/1s (590 sq. ft.) are $599–$639, 2/2s (1,200 sq. ft.) are $789–$859. Few pay these rack rates.

2020-07-09T14:27:57-10:00 Rating: No Award

White Sands Hotel

(866) 940-2782 or (808) 924-7263
431 Nohonani St, Waikiki
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NOTE: This property was renovated. Will we be back to re-review it soon! 

This property has three low-rise, walk-up buildings built in 1965 that surround a courtyard and pool. It’s similar in style to its next door neighbor, the Hawaiian King. This property targets budget travelers (but without budget pricing).

The kitchenettes simply add two burners to the microwave, coffee maker and fridge in rooms. Lanais either face the pool (preferable) or face the city (noisy). Rooms are pretty small and feel dated and very overpriced for what you get (though discounts can be easily had). The best features of the hotel are the friendly staff and pool courtyard, which is quite pretty and full of native plants. Bathrooms have showers only—no tubs.

2020-07-09T14:49:55-10:00 Rating: No Award
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